Happy Birthday Buddha!
Hana Matsuri is a Japanese flower festival celebrating the birth of the Buddha. People gather at temples with offerings of hydrangea tea and flowers, then wind through the neighborhoods in flowery processions. Celebrants build ancestral shrines and decorate them with the most beautiful flowers they can find. In some places, people take wildflowers to their family shrines, which they clean, leaving beautiful flower arrangements as decorations.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a very good Christian, actually, the type of Christian who had inspired me to be a Christian until it became The Christian Right Hate Party of the Republican Party. Bonhoeffer was a pastor and theologian, and was hanged on this day three weeks before the Allies liberated the prison camp he died in. According to Sandra Kimberley Hall in her book "On This Day," she writes that "Friends could have helped him escape from prison, but he was afraid of repercussions against his family. Unbeknownst to him, Bonhoeffer's brother and brother-in-law were both executed. He ministered to other POW's while waiting for his own execution. The tree from which he was hung bears a plaque in his honor."
Finally, for my Pagan brethren, I leave you this excerpt from Barbara Ardinger's book "Pagan every Day" where she writes:
Let's honor this day with our own flower festival. Don't pick wildflowers that may be endangered, but find a florist or flower stall. Buy as big a bouquet as you can afford. If your garden is blooming, bring some of your own flowers indoors. Invent your own ikebana with interesting containers from your cabinets. Tidy up each altar and /or shrine in your home and decorate it with an appropriate floral offering. Put a bouquet in a pitcher on your kitchen counter. Put a bouquet in your biggest vase on your dinning room table. Put a bouquet in your favorite vase in your bedroom. Improve the shining hours of your day by breathing in the scents and enjoying the colors.
|Shōka arrangement by the 40th headmaster Ikenobō Senjō, drawing from the Sōka Hyakki by the Shijō school, (1820)|